Have you ever had someone say to you, “Relax! Be yourself!” Or, maybe the more relevant question is how often has someone tried to reassure you with this instruction. No doubt, the speaker’s intent is to promote calmness and an enjoyable experience for you. However, for some of us, it has added to the stress of the moment - because we haven’t always known how to be ourselves.
So how do you “be yourself?” To truly be yourself, you’ll need to get to know yourself first! It will take some effort, but the results of finding out that you like yourself and are happy in your own skin is a real bonus for the effort. Knowing yourself well enough to make good choices for yourself opens the gate to personal happiness.
But it's not easy for all of us to get to that point; it requires real work to figure it all out. Sometimes it means facing our past, dealing with damaging behaviour, or maybe becoming realistic about our own expectations of ourselves. Living life’s trial and error experiences, reflecting on the outcomes, and applying the new truth will bring depth of understanding.
Getting to know yourself is the journey to understanding your feelings and actions, those characteristics that identify you for who you are, both to you and others. A place to start is by telling yourself the truth about yourself even if you find it bewildering or frustrating. “Why do I feel this way?” “Why do I do what I do?” Admitting that you don’t know why - is a start.
We do put in a lot of effort to get to know others, lovers, co-workers, and BFFs. How much study and analysis do we put into really getting to know ourselves? Pause in your busyness to examine how you can spend more time learning to understand your own personality, characteristics and just how happy you presently are. You may find that you live and make choices out of the need for others’ approval. If this is true, Bingo! This is a good place to start observing your motives behind your choices and your resulting actions.
Take a personality test. Print off the questions to use as a self-study before submitting your answers. Don’t choose what you consider as the “best answer” based on people you admire with a particular quality, but how you really respond in situations. If you do not know how to answer a question about yourself, wait and watch to find an actual example of how you react in a given life situation. You may be wondering,” What if I don’t like what I find?” Telling yourself the truth about yourself and accepting yourself in spite of finding negative characteristics is part of the process and normal. Everyone has weaknesses and strengths.
Notice those people with whom you feel most comfortable. There are those who seem to have been born relaxed. They are fun to hang out with. They don't grab attention or do not hang back either. They flow with whatever is going on. You may admire this person, but may not be like them. That’s okay. You are okay, too. But when you are being yourself, you will come off more relaxed than you even know.
We can learn to relax, even in our most stressful kinds of situations, by studying our own reactions and taking small steps toward changing. Don’t be hard on yourself. The very fact that you want to make these changes is a huge step! Seriously - pat yourself on the back and then get ready for the next step.
The practical side to being ourselves is in practice. The practice is in the exercise of recognizing our patterns and remembering what to do in each situation until it becomes habit and feels very natural.
Being ourselves is vital to our happiness. Again, tell yourself the truth. Your friends and family find you most lovable when you are “being yourself.” People are perceptive - they recognize when you are being the real “you.” Live it out! It takes thought and practice, but you will get to the place that neither you nor anyone else will need to remind you to “be yourself!”